Heather Bellamy spoke with Sheila Jones about being a child of God.
Often in life, we only discover what we find our identity in once it's gone. As Christians we know our identity is in Christ, but when we lose our health, or a relationship, or a job, we find that parts of our identity were in fact, in those things. Heather Bellamy spoke with Sheila Jones who has been walking with God for many decades about the whole issue of identity.
Heather: Why is both knowing what our identity is and what it's in important?
Sheila: It affects our relationships very significantly, because if we're insecure in who we are, it does affect how we relate to people.
Heather: You were a missionary for many years, but when you stopped being a missionary, God said something key to you didn't He? Could you tell us about that?
Sheila: God called me to be a missionary, or in my mind, even before I surrendered my life to Christ, so I was, you might say, 'saved to serve'. That was my reason from the very beginning. I knew I was going to serve God in that way and I did.
I finished my teacher training and I did Bible training and I went to India. Then after 10 years or so, my time there came to an end and I was back in this country. I think I was on the phone and in conversation and something must have come up that made me think that, "The point is Sheila, you're not a missionary." When I came off the phone and thought about it, I was really quite weeping about it and very distressed and I said, "Why am I so upset?" The Lord said to me as clear as anything, "You think that because you're not labelled a missionary anymore that I don't love you." That was quite a shock, but it was perfectly true. I thought, I'm not a missionary; that's what I was meant to be, so who am I?
That is a very core and crucial question. If you're not wearing your disguise, who are you?
Heather: What was the answer to that?
Sheila: It took a long time. I carried on in church and I began to have to know that God loved me. I'd always run the Sunday School and run the youth group, but things changed and leadership changed. I was not running things, but I was just sitting at the back and not doing anything. It took a long time for me to come to understand that I was important because I was God's child.
Years later I was in Argentina and we were having a worship service and I had my hands raised and suddenly I noticed I wasn't wearing a ring because I'm not married. I looked at my bare hands and it came deep in my heart, "Sheila, you don't belong to anybody. You're not married. You don't belong in Argentina because you're a foreigner. You don't belong in Wales because you're always away somewhere else. You don't belong in India because you're not Indian. You just don't belong anywhere." It was really a deep distress to me. Then God said, "You belong in my Church. You belong in my body. Wherever you are, you are mine. You belong in India, you belong in Argentina and you belong in Wales." I knew it was true, that wherever I go, in God's family, I'm at home and I am a child of God; that's who I am. I don't need to be very clever, or very talented, or anything else. I'm simply God's child.
Heather: Is that the root to dealing with all reasons for insecurity?
Sheila: Well it certainly helps! We would have to go in to that in much more depth, because we get our security from money, from position, from other people's opinion and all these things are important, we need security, there's nothing wrong with needing security, but our security is in God.
Heather: What is life like when we are secure in our identity in Him?
Sheila: I have found that I'm less touchy. If somebody doesn't say, "Hello Sheila", I don't feel offended. Previously, whatever happened, I would feel offended or rejected, or they didn't love me or, they didn't respect me, but now that doesn't matter because I'm God's child; He loves me and I'm safe, so I don't react in the same way to people.
Heather: What are some of the signs that we're finding our identity in things other than who we are in God?
Sheila: Certainly that touchiness and fear of rejection and fear of being overlooked. I would say we need to have a look at that if that's a big problem to us.
Heather: What are some of the consequences to finding our identity in things other than God?
Sheila: They don't last. A lady I knew remarried and I was speaking to her about God and she said, "I don't need God! My husband and I are perfectly happy with each other." I should have said to her, "But he won't last forever." But I didn't like to, as it didn't seem to be quite nice to say that. Of course he died eventually, after some 15 years or so and she was devastated. Other things don't last.
Heather: How easy has it been for you to know and live as a child of God and find your identity in Him only?
Sheila: It takes time. I'm still doing it. I still look to other things so easily and then remind myself. It takes time.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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